Freedom to Choose

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Our forefathers had a vision. 

They decided on the vision. 

They believed in the vision. 

They took action on the vision.

They built a support structure to protect the vision.

And, this week, we will be celebrating the 243rd birthday of the declaration of that vision.  The Declaration of Independence.  A declaration of freedom.

As we celebrate with fireworks, parades and festive gatherings, I’d like to invite you to celebrate yourself as well.

your life

your vision

your freedom

I invite you to draw up your own declaration.  Your own vision.


Try this:

Listen to your longings and discontent

Decide what you would love to be or do or have

Take action 


You have the freedom to free yourself.  To free yourself from the chains that hold you back from being all you are here to be.    

The time is now!  Declare it!

Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Do you need help drawing up your own vision?  Start here.  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the Daily Affirmations button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!


Photo Credit:  Roven Images on Unsplash

What makes YOU come alive?

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What kind of life would YOU love living?  YOU.  Not your family.  Not your friends.  Not society.  YOU!

  • What would YOU love?

  • What brings YOU life?

  • What do YOU want to be or do or create in this life?

Think about it…really…let your imagination run wild...

Most of us, when we think about what we really want, start with what we think we could do, what we should do, what our present circumstances allow, what the economy is doing, what our bank account says…

It’s time to start asking different questions, bigger questions.

Howard Thurman said Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it it.  Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.

Your life is an example to everyone you encounter.

  • Of possibility

  • Of hope

  • Of life

Imagine how your children would benefit from a mother who is truly alive…

  • What would YOU love?

  • What brings YOU life?

  • What do YOU want to do or be or create or experience in this life?

What would a wealthy life look like to YOU?  Wealth is not just about money.  Merriam-Webster defines wealth as abundant supply.  We can have wealth in any area of life. 

  • Wealthy in health

  • Wealthy in time

  • Wealthy in love

Designing a wealthy life begins with knowing what you really want

What is it for YOU?


Try this:

  • Take a few deep breaths and center yourself

  • Ask yourself this question:  If it all worked out, what would I love to be or do or have or experience in this life?

  • Grab a pen and paper and let your imagination run wild.

  • And what else and what else and what else...


Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Do you need help imagining what you would love?  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the START HERE button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!


Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash


Raising Grateful Kids

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One night my 9 year old daughter was having a difficult time.  It had been a full week and we recently had to have a few difficult conversations with our children about death. 

My daughter, who has a vivid imagination, did NOT want to sleep in her bed.  She was not having any part of it.  By 10PM I realized that she was serious! 

So, I got her settled into my bed and took out my gratitude journal for me and my bedside notebook for her.  Her eyes lit up at the sight of the notebook as she is an artist in the making and draws any chance she can get.  I told her that instead of our nightly “grateful prayer”, as we call it, we were going to write in our gratitude journals to help us change our thoughts.

I was delighted with the experience for both of us and for the learning that took place that night.  She now has her own gratitude journal.  A simple solution with a powerful outcome. 

Gratitude is a powerful spiritual practice and an easy one to pass on to kids. Here are 3 reasons you and your child may want to start a gratitude practice.

  • Gratitude connects us to the source of abundance and creativity. Since our thoughts are prayers, gratitude is a great way to align with the source of all that is. That place of pure love.

  • Gratitude aligns us with the vibration (or vibe) of abundance. Seriously, gratitude has an energy about it. It vibrates at the same energetic frequency as joy and abundance leaving us feeling expansive while sadness, anger and frustration tend to leave us feeling constriction.

  • Gratitude increases our sense or feeling of deserving. It feels good to know that we have something to be grateful for.

Do you have a gratitude practice?  Do your kids? Please share it in the comments below.  Yours may just be the golden nugget that changes another mom’s life.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

P.S. Do you need help thinking grateful thoughts? I’ve created a complimentary series of affirmations to remind you of who you are, all you are capable of and how much you rock.


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Life by Design Daily Affirmations


Photo Credit: Gabrielle Cole on Unsplash

Spring Forward

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Imagine that your life is a book.  There are often defining moments in life that we might call chapters within our own story.  They are all integral parts of who we are regardless of how unpleasant they may have felt at the time.

Sometimes, no matter how much we want to spring forward into the next chapter, we end up falling back into the one before.

Now, imagine that you are the author of the book of you.  You can’t erase those chapters but you can absolutely edit them.  You can rewrite them and give them new meaning.  And, you can redirect the story going forward.

I have rewritten many chapters in my own life.  If it wasn’t for one of the most rigorous chapters, I wouldn’t have found my love for yoga, teaching and my own spirituality.  I wouldn’t be sharing this with you today.

I am incredibly grateful for those chapters that once felt rigorous.

·         I learned the power of forgiveness. 

·         I learned the power of resilience. 

·         I learned the power of perseverance. 

I have learned how to rewrite the chapters in my life so that I may spring forward into the next. And so can you!

What will be on the pages of your next chapter?

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

P.S. Do you need help springing forward into your next chapter? I’ve created an easy work sheet to help you rewrite the rigorous chapters in your life.  Download it for free using the button below. 


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Free Download

Rewrite the Chapter Worksheet


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Mind Management for the Busy Mom

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Being a mom is serious business.  Really, it is like running a business.  I don’t know about you but much of my personal time (and sometimes my work time) is devoted to logistics.  Kind of like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Making all the pieces fit.  Who is going where, when, doing what and who will be the driver for instance.  And, guess what, I am the manager of all of it.

I found that in order to be a good “manager” of my household, I needed to be a good “manager” of my mind.  There are all kinds of management systems out there.  You name it and you can find a management system for it.  It makes sense to me that if we manage our minds first, we will be much more successful at managing diet, exercise, time, productivity, behavior and on and on and on.

Ultimately, it is our thoughts that create our reality.  Mind management is the key to well-being and happiness.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the research that has been done at Baylor, Princeton or Stanford to name a few. 

Thoughts have power.  And so do words.  It is important to pay attention to your thoughts and the words you put out into the world. 

Mind management begins with replacing common thoughts with empowered ones.  Common thoughts are simply the patterns of thinking that have been ingrained in you.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The ones that remind you of all the ways you suck.  

It takes practice but I am living proof that you can replace “I suck” thoughts with “I rock” thoughts. Make a vow to choose empowered thinking and empowered language every day.  Catch yourself and tell yourself a new story. If you fumble, use the mantra “Every day and in every way I am getting better and better”. With time, you will start believing it.

And, ultimately, thrive in motherhood.

Do you have a favorite empowering phrase?  Please share it in the comments below.  Yours may just be the phrase that changes another mom’s life.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

P.S. Do you need help managing your mind? I’ve created an easy cheat sheet to help you make the shift from common thinking to thoughts of empowerment.  Download it for free using the button below. 


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Free Download

Mind Management for the Busy Mom Cheat Sheet


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How to Use Your Discontent to Thrive in Motherhood

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It’s no secret that being a mother is challenging.  In fact, in my opinion, it is THE hardest job in the world.

There was a time, early on, when I focused solely on my woes and all of the difficulties I faced as a mother.  Anyone who knew me at that time may have thought that I was a raving lunatic. 

That’s exactly how I felt.  I hadn’t fully healed from the trauma surrounding my oldest child’s birth and, dang it, having 2 children under 2 is Just. Plain. Hard.

I had mastered my discontent.  I knew it well.  I began my day with it and sealed it into my dreams at night. 

Little did I know, there is an easy way out.  I learned through a series of trial and error that I could actually use my discontent as the driver to move my life in a new direction. 

Think of it this way.  We tend to create change in our lives in 2 ways. 

Intention from – moving away from our discontent. 

Intention toward – moving in the direction of a desired outcome.

Since many of us begin with intention from, I’ve created an easy 3 step process below to help you use your discontent to thrive in motherhood. 

Try this:

  1. Name Your Discontent:  What?  “I thought I was supposed to be reciting words of joy and positivity”, you may be saying to yourself.  Well, you heard me right.  As the late Louise Hay was known to say “you have to see the dirt in order to clean the house”.  It’s the same with your discontent.  Shine the light on it.  Take a look at it.  And then, write it out.  Line by line.  Name your discontent.

  2. Intention Toward:  Take each discontent and turn it into an intention toward.  I’ll give you a few examples to get you started.  Let’s say one of your discontents is “I’m exhausted”.  What you may really want is some energy to get you through the day.  Instead of saying “I’m exhausted”, you could say “I feel energetic throughout the day”, or whatever wording feels right for you.

  3. Take a Step:  Now that you have created an intention toward, make a list of steps you could take to feel more energetic throughout the day.  If the step feels too big, break it down into smaller steps.  Choose ONE step and integrate it into your life before moving on to the next.  For example: 

  • go to bed earlier

  • reduce sugar intake

  • take a brisk walk

  • solicit help

What is one step you can take using the process above?  Please share with a comment below.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

*Do you need help turning your discontent into an intention toward?  I’ve created an easy cheat sheet to help you.  Download it for free using the button below.


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Free Download

How to Use Your Discontent to Thrive in Motherhood Work Sheet


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3 Reasons to Laugh More

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Have you laughed lately?  I mean a good, hearty belly laugh?

It is said that a child laughs nearly 300 times per day while the average adult laughs less than 20.  Whether this is accurate or not I’m not sure but I wouldn’t doubt it based on the hysterics I witness with my own children.

They laugh.  All day.  Even when they are trying not to in between big, fat, crocodile tears.  And, especially, when someone says BUTT (have you ever wondered how many times you say that word in a day?).

All jokes aside, research shows that laughter is the best medicine.  It has both short term and long term positive effects on stress, the leading cause of chronic health problems in the US.  In fact, Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, experimented with laughter himself and claimed that 10 minutes of belly laughing gave him two hours of pain free sleep.

  • Laughing is a natural state changer.  Have you ever tried a frown while laughing?  Try it.  I bet it will make you laugh.

  • Laughing increases the intake of oxygen into the heart and lungs.  There is even a form of yoga called Laughter Yoga.  It’s a hoot!

  • Laughing brings us back to the present moment.  We can only laugh in the present.  And, this is good news because we only have NOW.

What is your favorite way to get a laugh in?  Watching a funny movie?  Reading a funny book?  Watching your cat try to make her way out of a paper bag?  Or, maybe it’s laughing for the sake of laughing. Please share with a comment below.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

*Are you laughing enough? Take the free assessment below to determine your laughter quota.


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Free Download

Determine your Laughter Quota for Increased Health and Well-Being


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Be Careful What You Wish For

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Did you ever wish for something that you really wanted but thought that it would never come true?

You know.  It's that thing that you feel deep down in your core.  Something you ponder while drifting off to sleep at night.  If only, you think to yourself. 

Well, I did too!

For me it was that elusive relationship with my father. The one I had been craving since childhood. Due to circumstances beyond my control I spent over 2 decades wishing and wanting. It felt so far out of my reach.

And today, I am pinching myself. 

The latest and greatest is that my father is moving to Raleigh. In September. He wants to be near me. To know his grandchildren. To be a part of our lives.

And, my heart is filled to overflowing.

I never imagined that it would happen...that is until I did.  I imagined it with all of my heart and soul.

And, I'm here to tell you that miracles do happen. They are everywhere if we open our eyes. Sometimes they are big and sometimes they are very small but they do happen.

This particular miracle began with changing my mind and moving toward what I want rather than pushing away from what I don't. Deciding for rather than wishing for. 

  • Deciding what I wanted
  • Believing that it would happen
  • Taking action on my desires

With this in mind, I am holding a Vision Board Workshop later this month.  To help you get super clear about what you want.  To keep it up close and in your awareness.  So that you can begin to take the steps necessary to bring your miracles into your life.

How about you? Any miracles occurring in your life? Please reply to this email and let me know regardless of how small they seem?  It lights me up to hear about all the goodness in the world.

Wishing you and yours peace, love, joy and many miracles!

Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Life by Design Vision Board Workshop

Saturday, September 29

10-4PM EST

Raleigh, NC

$75 (includes a delicious lunch from Sunflowers Cafe)

5 Must Do Daily Practices

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In the hustle and bustle of life as a mom it is imperative that we maintain consistent practices to help us stay sane throughout the day.  As painful as it feels sometimes, I start my day at 5:45 so that I have time to do these 5 practices daily.  It’s a way of filling my cup before tending to my family and my work.  They have all become integral parts of my life.

1. Walk ~ What are the benefits of walking you ask?  Let me count the ways...  Holistic health and wellness guru Dr Andrew Weil recommends walking as THE best exercise.  Not only does it do your body good but it also increases cognitive performance in the brain and reduces stress.  I choose a 30 minute morning nature walk as my daily go to exercise.

2. Yoga ~ 20 minutes of yoga each day will change your life.  I know this to be true.  After 25 years of yoga and years of experimenting with various healing modalities, I always return to the mat.  There is no better way that I know of to connect mind, body and soul.  And, yoga is a great stress reducer.

3. Meditate ~ Treat your mind as you would your body with the "mental hygiene" of meditation.  Contrary to popular belief, the practice of meditation is to bring your mind back to NOW whenever it wanders.  And, trust me, it will wander.  It is not about sitting with a blank mind for 30 minutes 3 times every day.  Start small with a 3 minute guided meditation and increase the time gradually.  Oh, did I mention that it reduces stress too?

4. Gratitude ~ After attending to my body and my mind, I begin each day by writing and connecting with 3 things I am grateful for.  Not only does gratitude feel good as I recall and focus on all the goodness in my life, but it also aligns me with the vibration of joy, happiness and abundance.  I like to call it the "back door to abundance".

5. Vision ~ Connecting with my vision daily is an absolute for me.  I read it, write it and "put it on" every day.  Living a vision driven life is THE most life giving way of living.  As I connect with my vision I BEcome the woman in it.  And so can you.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

How do you begin your day?  Please share with a comment below.


Do you need help starting a daily routine?  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the Daily Affirmations button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!


Photo by Dreamstime Creative Commons Stock Photos

Motherhood is a Spiritual Journey

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Children open our hearts to more love and compassion than we ever thought possible.  They also open our hearts to vulnerability, fear and overwhelm like we've never experienced before. 

Motherhood is a spiritual journey.  It is “full catastrophe living” at its finest (thank you Jon Kabat-Zinn).  

I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me before I had them.  No one can quite prepare you for the beauty, the fear and everything in between. 

Nothing in life brings up our unresolved fears, hurts, anger, sadness, resentment, insecurities, trauma, abuse…like motherhood.  All of our wants, needs and shortcomings from childhood come screeching forward.

You see, our children are our greatest teachers.  They are mirrors into our souls.  They push our buttons and show us what we need to work on.  They give us unlimited opportunities for growth. 

We can either resist what they are here to teach us or we can accept the challenge.  Shine the light of awareness on what they are showing us and take the steps necessary to BEcome the role models they deserve.  One Foot Up at a time. 

It is a choice we all have.  Accept the challenge or resist it.

I chose to accept the challenge. 

It is a work in progress.  I am a work in progress.  It is an everyday, all day job.

It is the single most rewarding decision I have ever made for myself, my family and everyone I encounter.

I am doing it and so can you. 

Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Are you ready to take accept the challenge?  My journey began with daily affirmations.  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the Daily Affirmations button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!

Photo Credit:  Simon Rae on Unsplash

Free Yourself

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Our forefathers had a vision. 

They decided on the vision. 

They believed in the vision. 

They took action on the vision.

They built a support structure to protect the vision.

And, this week, we will be celebrating the 242nd birthday of the declaration of that vision.  The Declaration of Independence.  A declaration of freedom.

As we celebrate with fireworks, parades and festive gatherings, I’d like to invite you to celebrate yourself as well.

your life

your vision

your freedom

I invite you to draw up your own declaration.  Your own vision.


Try this:

Listen to your longings and discontent

Decide what you would love to be or do or have

Take action 


You have the freedom to free yourself.  To free yourself from the chains that hold you back from being all you are here to be.    

The time is now!  Declare it!

Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Do you need help drawing up your own vision?  Start here.  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the Daily Affirmations button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!


Photo Credit:  Mike Watson Dreamstime

Cultivating Worthiness

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At the end of a talk I gave recently, one of the participants asked me what I did to begin changing my life.  On my ride home that night I realized that I never really answered the question.  I answered the why – my son showed me that he needed me to be an empowered role model.  Not the what. 

After giving it some thought it was clear to me that the very first place I started was by increasing my sense of worthiness.  Hands down.  I HAD to believe I was worthy of a better life or I would never have been able to make the changes necessary. 

  • I would not have been able to let go of what no longer served me. 
  • I would not have been able to put myself and my self-care first. 
  • I would not have been able to establish boundaries and teach others how to treat me. 

It was uncomfortable. It was painful.  It upset my loved ones who had been so used to me being a certain way. 

Saying yes when I really wanted to say no.  Putting everyone else first. 

Holding my tongue when I had something important to say.  Being what others wanted me to be instead of being authentically me. 

Eventually the dust settled.  I became more comfortable in my new way of being.  My loved ones became more comfortable with my new way being. 

Once I changed my inner world, my outer world began to change.  I noticed books on my husband’s book shelf that I never thought he’d choose.  My mother, who I had been badgering to make a move, decided to move to town.  My dad and I began a new relationship with each other.  My tribe began to show up. 

It all began with this daily affirmation:  I AM Worthy. 

I read this affirmation day and night.  Night and day.  Until I believed it.  Until I understood that my worthiness comes from inside and that I didn’t need anything to be more worthy than I already was.

I still use affirmations.  All day.  Every day.  Because I am human and sometimes I forget that I am worthy just the way I am. 

And so are you.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy


Do you need help cultivating worthiness?  Studies show that daily affirmations can help reduce stress, boost well-being and increase confidence.  Click the Daily Affirmations button below and get Life By Design Daily Affirmations in your inbox.  Designed with care to remind you of who you are, what you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first one is the most important.)  Enjoy!


Photo Credit:  Aki Tolentino on Unsplash